In the long term quest to improve consistency in shot — particularly in a high-capacity production environment — La Marzocco decided to analyze the filter basket. We visited them a few months ago and spoke with them about these newly engineered baskets, but now that we have them in stock, it was time for a taste test!
We locked Gail in a room, alone with only a La Marzocco Linea, Mahlkonig K30 Vario, a couple pounds of coffee beans & gallons of milk and a slew of cups. Then we told her the only way for her to get out alive was to see how many lattes she could make in one hour! Look, if we’re going to get anything done around here…
Watch as we check in with her every so often to see how she progressed and find out how many she was able to whip up in an hour on the 2 group, semi-automatic version of the Linea.
(No Gails were harmed during the making of this video)
In our quest to produce something other than a star nebula atop our lattes, we asked Louie Poore to come tutor us in the ways of latte art. And we had a blast!
Watch Louie give a basic lesson to Gail, Allison and Rob — including tips and tricks on steaming, pouring technique and keeping things in perspective.
While we’ve carried the GS/3 for awhile now, we’ve decided to expand our La Marzocco selection to include their commercial-class equipment. Our first round of testing and reviews covers one of their most popular machines, the Linea, which comes with choice of 1 – 4 group heads and is available in manual paddle, semi-automatic and automatic configurations.
Gail gives us a brief overview of the machine’s internals, walks us through its features and makes us a latte on what is fondly referred to as A Northwest Workhorse.
Filtering your water is essential if you plan on plumbing in your espresso machine to a direct water line in your location. Without this, you run the risk of scale build-up that can only be removed by a professional taking apart the machine and physically removing the scale. How quickly this occurs will depend on your location — we did have a cafe attempt to go without filtration for just a couple of months and their equipment completely seized up as a result. Clearly, they were working with very hard water, but it’s not a risk we recommend you take, at all.
For commercial locations, there are tons of filtration options that will address a wide variety of water source needs. If you’re looking at that kind of a setup, then you’ll need to install something a bit more sophisticated and robust that will be able to address the multiple appliances that will require water (such as drip coffee makers, ice machines, water fountains and your espresso machine) in a way that’s easy to manage. But for just straight espresso machine filtration, the Mavea Purity C filters are simple, easy to install and do an excellent job of filtering out what you don’t want in your espresso machine’s boiler.
Watch Gail as she walks us through an overview of how she installed a Mavea filter on our La Marzocco Linea.
When is it time to say when? We’re often asked where the portafilter should be in respect to the machine — at a 90 degree angle? 45 degree? A little over to the right? Every machine will be a little bit different and the key is to make sure that it feels snug. Additionally, you’ll find that you’ll move it further as the gasket ages.
Watch as Gail demonstrates the position on several of our demo machines of varying style and age.
You know we are so focused on cleanliness, baby! In addition to descaling, backflushing and washing all your gear regularly, cleaning around the brew head and keeping the gasket free of coffee residue will ensure an effective seal with the portafilter — and a better shot in the end.
If you have a machine with a 58mm brew head, check out this snazzy little brush by Cafelat. It locks into the brew head and makes short work of your maintenance.
Last week, Joe Monahan and Jack Kuo of La Marzocco were kind enough to talk with this about their new, highly-precise basket — currently dubbed the Strada (after their cutting edge pressure profiling machines). Watch as they explain the theory behind it, why they wanted to build a better basket and the calibration process itself. The goal? Increase consistency in extraction, of course! These 58mm baskets will be available shortly.
Should you calibrate your shots to a specific timing duration or should you pull them until the coffee starts to blonde? We play around with blonding using Lavazza Super Crema on the GS/3 to see how blonding affects the shot’s overall flavor.
Do you experiment with blonding? We’d love to hear your experiences — please share!